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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Aronin trial to be open to public

Published: January 22, 2010
Section: Features

Despite initial efforts on the part of the Union Senate, the impeachment trial of Union Secretary Diana Aronin ’11 will be open to the public.

The Senate decided to withdraw its request for a closed trial earlier this week, and the Union Judiciary (UJ) decided to “not exercise the authority granted” to them, according to an e-mail from the UJ’s Chief Justice Judah Marans ’11.

Aronin was charged as having “willfully corrupted and violated the duties set forth to her in the Constitution” by the Union Senate on Dec. 6 under Article XII of the Union Constitution when she allegedly failed to put a Constitutional amendment for the creation of a midyear senator position to the student body for a vote.

The Union Constitution does allow for a trial’s closure if “the presence of the public [at the trial would]…have a negative impact on the hearing.”

The initial Senate brief requesting a closed trial would have allowed the campus media, but argued that if open, the trial “could create a public spectacle which would be damaging to both the Union as a whole and Secretary Aronin as an individual.”

The respondent’s counsel, Deena Glucksman ’11, however, readily dismissed the notion of closing the trial shortly after the Senate’s action. In Section I of her response brief, she argued it is “neither the responsibility nor jurisdiction of the claimant’s counsel to defend the rights of the respondent.” Glucksman also stressed that the charges concerned the responsibilities of Aronin only as Union Secretary, not her private status as a student and thus did not merit closing of the trial for fears of her personal reputation.

The Senate’s withdrawal of the motion came after the respondent’s brief was coupled with another from Union President Andy Hogan ’11 against closing the trial.

Hogan opposed the closing of the trial in a friend-of-the-court amicus curiae brief that contended it was “imperative that the trial remain public.” Combating the claimant’s reasoning that reputational damage or public reaction could weaken the trial, Hogan argued that because the story had been first reported in The Hoot on Dec. 6 with “no protests, no complaints, and no aggressive action taken by the public,” the plaintiff’s argument was irrelevant.

Hogan acknowledged in the closing of his brief an “exclusive, secret, and ‘behind closed doors’ reputation” of the current Student Union government, and argued that the trial being open to the public was the best way for the Union to attempt a reputation as being “open, transparent, and honest with the student body.”

The case, In re Aronin, will proceed as scheduled Sunday at 4 p.m. in Lemberg Academic Center.